The standard quadcopter can perform a variety of tasks. Drones are efficient in whatever they do and also require a certain level of skill to be flown. Countries like India and U.S are already enforcing drone laws which require a drone pilot to train and attain a pilot’s license to fly any drone. Therefore it is quite common for drones to crash during pilot training course but drones like the Mavic Pro, Phantom, etc. are expensive to purchase and repair. Drones get easily damaged, not just by rookie pilots but also under bad weather conditions, birds, lack of visibility, etc. Their performance may be top notch but a careless bump into any obstacle is enough to devastate a thousand dollar drone. They are sophisticated machines and can only withstand little force on impact. This is where the pilots require the aid of a crash-proof drone.
Researchers from Floreano Lab, NCCR Robotics and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created a drone which can withstand heavy impacts and crashes. The drone’s frame is made from a soft and flexible material which is just 0.3mm thick. The drone has magnetic components which attach the core in the center. The position of the magnetic components help the drone to have a rigid and stable flight like a standard quadcopter but when it hits an obstacle or crashes the magnets give way and allow the drone’s framework to be flexible again which helps in distributing the shock and thus protects the vital parts of the drone. Once the drone comes to rest, after the crash, elastic bands that keep the magnet in place forcing the frame to reform, allowing the operator to once again send the machine skyward.
This creators of this drone took inspiration from insects. According to the team, insects have immense crash-proof capabilities. Their wings are flexible and even if they crash head-on they can bounce back. The team decided to fuse this concept with modern UAVs to create the first crash-proof drone. This drone can greatly improve the emerging obstacle avoidance technology and in the case of a crash, it can help the drone bounce back using its temporary deforming capability. Such type of drone can also be useful in training new drone pilots, against bird attacks or in bad weather conditions.
Watch the crash proof drone in action: